Archives – FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (Archives)

What documents are in the Lyman Museum?

The Archives contains many local history documents.  The collection includes papers of kanaka maoli (the Hawaiian people), Christian missionaries, and immigrant families as well as records of Hawaiʻi Island businesses, organizations, and schools.  The items also include books, maps, moving images and photographs.  The materials represent 240 years and span more than 500 linear feet. 

Does the Museum have information about my family? 

Many local families have donated personal papers and photographs to the Museum.  We can search for individual people and family information within the collection.  Because the archives does not focus on genealogy, you may also want to check with other organizations for your family history.

Can I come look at old photos?

The Archives contains approximately 40,000 images in a wide variety of formats as well a small number of moving images. Not all images are available for viewing. Staff can assist you in researching images on a particular person, place or topic. Many negatives, photographs and moving images are already digitized. More are in the process of being digitized.

Do you have land records and other government documents?

The Archives does not actively collect government records. A few government documents are contained in specific collections.  For example, some land documents and maps are part of sugar company records. Those do not represent all parts of the island. If you are searching for information about your own property or ancestors, also check with county, state or federal government agencies.

When can I come see the Archives?

Research requests and appointments must be made prior to your visit. Walk-in requests are not accepted.  Please plan ahead.  Submit your research request form at least two weeks in advance and wait for a reply.  Be specific and include any relevant names and subjects.  Materials are viewed under staff supervision.  Please submit a “Research Request Form.”